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Town of Vernon, Secretary of State’s office have different explanations for absentee ballots mix up

Politics

VERNON, Conn. (WTNH)– A mix up with absentee ballots has caused somewhat of a rift between the town of Vernon and the Secretary of State’s office.

Like many voters, Mark Flaherty and his wife have chosen to vote by absentee ballot.

“Mine seemed fine there’s nothing wrong my ballot,” said Flaherty of Vernon.

Related: Some voters received wrong absentee ballots in the mail; Sec. of the State, town officials both pointing the finger

But apparently there may be something wrong with about 130 of them. The town of Vernon says some residents got a ballot for the wrong district which could mean they would be voting for the wrong state representative seat. The town has two of those seats.

“In this instance it looks like they entered some data in a wrong computer field so we’ve made sure our computer doesn’t  allow that to happen,” said Deputy Secretary of State Scott Bates.

The state says when a date is created for ‘Next Local or Primary Election’ it sends out a ballot for a local election, not a state election, and if the districts are different voters get the wrong ballot.

“I’ve never done that and but again even if that was the case the districts are always the same so it should never affect that,” explained Democratic Registrar Chris Prue.

He says the problem is when a label for the ballot is printed. In some cases a different district is listed on the label so the wrong ballot is sent out.

“And they both came from the same system that we can’t change that on,” said Prue.

“The Secretary of State’s representative on the phone indicated that Vernon was one of 35 communities adversely affected by the system glitch,” said Vernon Town Administrator Michael Purcaro.

The state says Vernon is one of two towns which have experienced this problem and in a statement a spokesperson cited ‘incompetence’ at town hall.

“What the secretary of state’s comments last night were disgraceful,” said Purcaro. “They were insulting to both my democratic and republican registrar.”

So far the town says it has sent out 4,500 absentee ballots and is checking to make sure every single one of them is correct.

There is one thing the town and state agree on.

“Every vote counts,” said Purcaro.

“Voters need to come first,” said Bates.

Any voter receiving a wrong ballot will get a new one.

They also say they are willing to work with each other to make sure of that and fix any problems.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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